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I am making soup, and the garlic I added (sauteed in the last few minutes with the onions) was old? too strong? whatever, it just has that bitter taste that garlic sometimes gets that's not the greatest. But I had too much going on to notice this until it was too late.

Will this subside as I simmer the soup?

Will this subside when I add the cream later?

Is there anything I can add to counteract this taste?

FYI it's "zuppa toscana" like from Olive garden - what's simmering now is chicken broth, potatoes, onions, garlic. To be added later: Cream, sausage, bacon, and kale -- and whatever else will help!!

Thanks for anything you can suggest!

Edited for followup:
  • The garlic didn't have any green center and really wasn't old, and the cloves seemed firm so I was VERY surprised by the bitterness - usually I give it a very good whiff before I add garlic to anything!
  • Part of the problem is that I added a lot more than the recipe called for I added two cloves that were each HUGE; both were at least the size of a normal clove. That's what I get for trying to cook while herding a toddler and a brand new dog!
  • I learned my lesson BIG TIME about pressing instead of mincing garlic. Things were so crazy that I wanted to take a short cut and now I'm paying the price.
  • The cream (a little more than was called for), some salt and pepper that it needed anyway, and about a tbsp each of honey and sugar seemed to really help. It's not nearly as good as if I hadn't screwed up to begin with but at least now it's not borderline nasty.
Thanks to all for your suggestions!

Edited again to add: A very small dollop of vietnamese chili garlic sauce REALLY helped. You can't taste the spiciness but it somehow really did the trick to counteract *most* of the bitter garlic taste. It's still sub-standard; I think that nothing can truly save it once it's permeated with bad garlic, but at least now it's much more edible.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 11th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
Hubby is outside spraying weeds or I'd ask him. He's perfect at knowing just what to add/change. I'd say add some honey or other sweet thing.

Watch the kale as that may increase the bitterness.
Jan. 11th, 2009 10:11 pm (UTC)
I agree re a touch of sweetness-- my 'secret ingredient' is a spoonful or two of ketchup. If you really don't want any tomato flavor, a very small spoonful of molasses also works.
Jan. 11th, 2009 10:30 pm (UTC)
I added a bit of honey and then another bit of plain sugar and it helped - thanks!
Jan. 11th, 2009 10:46 pm (UTC)
I did doctor it a bit which helped, but even if it's much later I'd love to know his suggestion - you did mention before that he was the king of knowing just what to add to things!

It's a young red kale that had been blanched and frozen, and isn't at all bitter so at least that doesn't worry me.
Jan. 11th, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)
Sorry I can't help salvage the dish you have. BUT this may prevent future bitterness issues: Cooks Illustrated says that the green center (in older garlic) is the cause of bitterness.

I dunno, I've never tested the idea myself, but I trust them :) So whenever I use super old garlic I split it in half and pick out the green sprout in the middle.
Jan. 11th, 2009 10:50 pm (UTC)
I second this suggestion. If there are green bits, take the green bits out and it won't be bitter.

It took me many years of Ready, Steady, Cook and its ilk, before I realised that with *fresh* garlic, where the insides are all white[1], you don't need to take out the shoot. I'd been taught to take out the shoot, so I always took out the shoot. Needless to say, my garlic-chopping has become much quicker and my fingers less garlicky since I learned that.

[1]Shades of Jonathan Woss there.
Jan. 11th, 2009 10:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks but again, there were no green bits at all, not even a wee bit of a green center, which is why I didn't check it before adding it as I normally would.
Jan. 11th, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure if I'm much help, usually if the garlic is bad it can ruin the dish beyond repair.

Although, I know that if a soup is too salty, you can throw some cut up potatoes in and it will suck up the salt. It may help the bitterness too??

Otherwise, maybe counteract it with something sweet or sour.
Jan. 11th, 2009 10:22 pm (UTC)
I just laughed out loud when I saw your icon, it's fantastic :)
Jan. 11th, 2009 10:51 pm (UTC)
Oh *aargh*. I didn't notice until you said that, and ewww... It squicked me.
Jan. 12th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
Your icon is really freaking me out. LOL!
Jan. 12th, 2009 05:41 am (UTC)
I've been having the exact same problem with garlic lately! Even though it isn't green or otherwise look bad, it has been very strong, bitter, and generally not very good. I thought it was just bad luck on my part but now it seems like there is something up with the latest garlic harvest.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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